by Danny Hooley
Indy contributor Danny Hooley wrote this preview of David Cross' performance in Durham Wednesday night. He then went to the show and found that the show started before the patrons even entered Fletcher Hall.
Poor "Larry the Cable Guy." He thought he was going to a Jeff Foxworthy show. Instead, he found out that the ticket he purchased for the Carolina Theatre Wednesday night was for his old nemesis, David Cross.
When he discovered his boneheaded mistake, he tried the only thing he could think of: scalping.
"Git 'er donnnne! Y'all need tickets?"
There he was, in all his plaid, bare-armed glory, harassing people lined up at the door, just before 8 p.m.
"It's a souvenir," Larry informed one patron as he showed him the very special ticket. "You know why? 'Cause I signed it. And then I wrote 'GIT R DONE.' And then I wrote 'DAVID CROSS SUCKS.' HAHA HAHAHA! It's only a hundred dollars."
There were no takers, and OK, he wasn't REALLY Larry the Cable Guy. It was really David Berberian of Durham, who builds sets for the Theater Studies Department at Duke University. He's also an actor who has most recently appeared in Manbites Dog's Deer Hunting With Jesus and Deep Dish Theater Company's Uncle Vanya. (The former show was written by Indy culture editor David Fellerath.)
Berberian, 39, was enlisted for the job by Rachel Klem, managing director of Common Ground Theatre in Durham. She had been called by the Carolina Theatre to recommend someone to play the redneck comedian at Cross's show.
Cross and LTCG have a feud going back to 2005, when Cross was quoted in a Rolling Stone profile of LTCG as saying, "It's a lot of anti- gay, racist humor—which people like in America—all couched in 'I'm telling it like it is.' He's in the right place at the right time for that gee-shucks, proud-to-be-a-redneck, I'm-just-a -straight-shooter-multimillionaire-in-cutoff-flannel-selling-ring -tones act. That's where we are as a nation now. We're in a stage of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride."
"I look like Larry the Cable Guy, I guess," Berberian says. "I don't know how good I feel about that."
He should feel fine; he was hilarious. The accent, costume and attitude were all spot-on, but that's where the similarities began to trail off. Berberian's "Larry" voice was boomy (scarily so) rather than nasally, and he's better-lookin' (he ain't all doughy, pasty and beady-eyed like the original.
His only instructions were to mingle with the crowd in the lobby before the show, so the "scalping" bit was his own idea, as well as a loud, impromptu "Git 'er done!" in the theater, right before the first set began, which drew groans and cries of "Shut up!" from the audience.
Berberian clearly relished his confrontational but good-natured performance art that night.
"I got all sorts of reactions," he says. "Some people got it. But I would say, at least half, if not more, completely thought I was loony. I tried really hard to track down the people who looked the most uncomfortable around me."
Berberian wasn't the only North Carolina talent recruited for the show. Local 10-year-old actor Lucas Eason played a foul-mouthed Mini-David for the first few minutes of Cross's set. He KILLED.